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A Last Urban Hurrah| Family Portraits in Lakewood, Colorado

Rewilding: used especially with reference to the reintroduction of species of wild animals that have been driven out or exterminated.

(Just hold on to this. You'll need it later).


Recently a woman called who had received a gift certificate from a friend for a portrait session for herself and her extended family. We discussed her options:

Wall art? “Of course! Something big.”

Color palette? “Warm, but maybe cool. It depends on where we hang them.”

What did she want to highlight in the images? “My relationship with my grandchildren, of course!...If I had known being a grandmother was going to be this much fun, I would have started with that!”

Grandparents and grandkids in a relaxed family portrait in Colorado

It was towards the end of our chat that she revealed the real challenge—she has terrible allergies when she comes to stay in her Colorado home.

“I noticed,” she said carefully in her fabulous New England accent, “that most of the images on your website are of people sitting in the grass or walking through tall grasses—I can’t do that. My eyes will swell up terribly if we try that.”

Grandma and granddaughter with red dress and yellow tulips in Colorado

She’s right...about the images on my website, that is (I can only assume she’s also right about her allergies). I do have a thing for foliage—all those unpredictable twigs, when softened by a shallow depth of field, can make a perfect frame for a subject. The way the light catches on tall grasses, especially when they’ve dried and turned crispy golden towards the end of summer, creates a sparkle you just can’t replicate in an urban setting. I’ve always worked hard to make my images appear as if my subjects are deep in the heart of nature, rather than nestled in the suburbs, which they usually have been...until recently, but more on that later.

Adolescent boy with red bow tie in urban Colorado

We found a compromise for her particular situation—an urban location that I felt promised good lighting and interesting compositions, one that also happened to be a special place for her and her family. Simultaneously, in my free time, I began seeking out more mountainous settings for future portrait sessions, locations that actually are in the heart of nature. After all, I grew up on the Western Slope, the mountains were my childhood playground, natural settings are in my blood. Also, my clients mostly come from Colorado, and within a short drive of Denver and its many suburbs, there are myriad stunning backdrops for family portraits; I just hadn’t really explored the possibilities.

Grandma and grandson in urban Colorado family portrait

So, while this blog features images from the urban session with my new East Coast friend, stay tuned for future blogs that highlight a pivot towards mountain settings.

Grandma and grandpa in relaxed urban portrait, Lakewood, Colorado

There’s a re-wilding happening for me, a return to the mountains, my natural habitat.

And I think it might be a really good thing.

Young girl in bright red dress in Lakewood Colorado

Brother and sister in Urban Colorado family portrait

Grandma and Grandpa in urban candid family portrait


Holly Freeman is a family photographer who recently uprooted from the suburbs of Denver and resettled with her family in the mountains near Bailey, Colorado. She has a thing for foliage (even in urban settings), for people who are in love, and for romantic lighting in stunning places. She loves helping people find art that captures the joy and chaos that is their families, and she is honored each and every time someone chooses her to help photograph their family. Reach out if you are interested in scheduling a portrait session.


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